Italian is the most romantic, enticing language on the planet and lucky for us, many common words have immigrated into our world and are now part of our everyday language. However, many of those common Italian words and phrases are constantly mispronounced in English.
While I’m not one of those expats who get all riled up over erroneous “shoos” and misplaced S’s (paninis, anyone?), I would like to help my fellow travelers brush up on their Italian.
With that in mind, here are seven of the most mispronounced Italian words I hear here in the bel paese.
Quick, tell me. Are you thinking about the island or the pants? They are not, my friends, one in the same. Although most English speakers who travel to southern Italy … the ones I talk to anyway … pronounce the island “capree,” like the short-legged summer pants, Italians pronounce this word “cah-pree.” Click here to hear the word pronounced in Italian.
Similiar to Capri, this Sicilian island is often mispronounced because of where we put the accent. Instead of the English “stromBOEli,” you should say, Strom-bowl-ee. Click here to listen to the word in Italian.
It’s much easier to correct your pronunciation of this stuffed “pizza,” type treat since the accent is more or less the same. To sound more Italian, just do as the Italians do, and pronounce the final “e” like “ay.” Listen the word here.
I honestly think it is pretty cute when English speakers refer to Italian cookies as “biscaati,” but it’s just plain wrong. Instead, you should pronounce the “O” like, well, an “O” and say bi-scott-tea. You can hear the word pronounced here.
I was actually corrected in Beaumont, Texas a year or so ago when I ordered “brew-sket-ta” at a local Italian restaurant. While I didn’t argue the poor guy down, he was clearly wrong in pronouncing this appetizer “brooshetta.” Listen here if you don’t believe me or read this mini-rant over at healthdiaries.com.
6. Panini and Cappuccini
Ahhh, the whole Italian plural thing will get me mocked in Texas every time, but English-speakers, when you are in Italy, you should order two “cappuccini,” or go out for “panini,” not “cappuccinos” and “paninos.”
The Spanish language has made the “siesta,” or the mid-day nap a popular term in the US. However, in Italy, that middle of the day break is called a “riposo.” Impress the people you meet in Italy by referring to this treasured tradition by the appropriate name.
What other common words do you notice English-speakers mispronounce when they speak Italian?
Traveling to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.